“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”                 Mark Twain                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

He died this week and guess what? My son was right. It wasn’t “bad news” at all — just “news”. Indeed, if death is a part of life, let the record be clear: this man was no part of ours. (At least not once he slinked out the back door by way of the bank and County Recorder’s office).  Ah, but that was years ago. We’ve moved on and now, apparently, so has he.

There is an old Latin phrase “De mortuis nihil nisi bonum”, which translates to “Of the death, nothing unless good”.

Should I not then speak? Is silence more appropriate?

I really don’t want to err. Is there a proper barometer?

Less than a year ago the “Washington Post” noted the passing of Jean-Claude Duvalier, the Haitian leader credited by human rights organizations with killing tens of thousands of his citizenry and under whose watch his country — as per the obit — became the “Western Hemisphere’s epicenter for AIDS”. Still, the newspaper’s balanced coverage pointed out that Mr. Duvalier “…supported a quickie divorce law — anyone could get a decree in 24 hours…”

May I reflect then how years ago our dearly departed, on the eve of Passover, signed his wife into a hospital, told her the marriage was over, and then drove to the coast?

No less a publication than “The New York Times”, in its May 2, 1945 obituary of Adolph Hitler noted:

“…Hitler was truly devoted to music not only as an art but as a tonic for his nerves. His favorites were Schubert, Beethoven and Wagner…”

Would it be appropriate then to mention that the recently departed enjoyed Johnny Cash?

Lost I am— not so much for words, but for a sense of proportion?

Dare I speak? Does it matter? Indeed, what is right?

It is hard not to recall at this time, the thoughtful, sensitive, poignant words attributed to the late Bette Davis:

“…I was told only to speak good of the dead, she said before adding: Joan Crawford is dead….good!”

I think I’m done!

One Response to “MR. ED”

  1. H says:


    We all have our own memories/thoughts re: Ed. Most are better off left unsaid. However, given your comments, which are appreciated, I feel strangely compelled to add mine. I won’t stress the negative. Too easy/upsetting.

    Instead, I will only add to your commentary about his love of the arts which also exemplified his latent generosity. Yes, he did love Johnny Cash. But, he also loved John Wayne. They had much in common. Both admired the military and the Wild West. But Ed also had an appreciation for the comedic arts. He was particularly fond of Henny Youngman. In fact, I recall two specific instances where he actually quoted Youngman as he practiced his unique view of “tikkun olam”.

    The first instance was when he had Mom committed (yes, committed) to Menorah Park. I remember him distinctly telling their administrators: “Take my wife, please”. Yes, Henny had made his mark on Ed.

    The second instance occurred only a year or two later when he got playful with Youngman’s trademarked quip. In this instance, wherein he again demonstrated his generosity and giving nature, he told his son Michael: “Take my wife’s house, please.” Ever the quipster, ever the generous soul.

    I don’t know if more need be said.

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